Coughing in the New Year

Happy 2020 everyone!! *cue coughing fit and desperate search for the cough drops*

It seems I have contracted the plague.

It started with an impromptu trip to the East Coast of North Carolina to visit my mom’s family the day after Christmas (that’s about the time the coughing started). We came home on New Year’s Eve, cleaned the house all day on New Year’s, Thursday we spent the day with a friends’ family (this was the point where Mom lost her voice), Friday we drove to South Carolina to look at a few rentals we’re considering (Mom was still devoid of voice at this point and several others of us were operating at about 65%), and yesterday we spent most of the day having photos made with my Dad’s side of the family.

Mom has requested that I add a note at this point to mention that we don’t ACTUALLY have “the plague,” but likely some combination of allergies, sleep deprivation, and a mild cold, none of which is likely very contagious- she doesn’t want our friends to read this blog and come to the conclusion that we purposefully polluted them with deadly germs.

It’s been an eventful end to 2019 and start to 2020.

Oh yeah, and remember how I mentioned that we were looking at some rentals in South Carolina? Yah, another move will probably be happening for my family within the next few weeks. It’ll be the second for us in less than six months, and the third state we’ll have called home in as much time. I’ll likely be writing a blog post about all that drama soon, but for now I just desperately want to be settled so I can organize my room and figure out what the next semester is supposed to look like.

This post probably feels like a monumental ramble at this point, but I have a habit of writing blogs like they are essays, and I’m trying to get away from that. While it’s nice to have a couple of pages of neatly organized, generic sentences written to be graded and check-marked and then handed back to be filed away and forgotten, that’s not the way my thoughts work in my head. And this blog is supposed to be a place for me to simply let those thoughts out, to simply write and not worry too much about what it looks like. So I’m trying to let the thoughts simply flow from my brain to my fingers and into the Bluetooth keyboard I’m clacking away at now, and hopefully, it’ll still be understandable by my readers.

And what I’m thinking about now is how the year has shaped up so far, and what I’d like it to look like by the end. For one, I want to get some sleep and stop waking up at 5 a.m. just desperately trying to catch my breath around the maddening tickle in my throat. Also, I’d like to get back to writing on this blog more consistently. I kept trying to finish and publish The Queue posts for the last bit of 2019, but it just wasn’t working for some reason. I’m hoping to go back and at least give a summary of the things I enjoyed for the last months of 2019; I’ve found some new music and listened to far more than my fair share of audio dramas.

I’ve already mentioned some of these on Twitter, but here are a few more things I’d like to prioritize in 2020-

I want to be more diligent at reading and studying my Bible this year. I want to learn more about Christian doctrine, theology, and church history, put my mind and heart into it and study it out. I’ve always enjoyed learning about these things, but so far my actual effort to learn it in any sort of system has been little to none. What I do pick up is mostly gleaned from podcasts, the occasional Wikipedia article, and the Western Cultural History course I took with Classical Conversations last year. I’ve got a book on the subject that I’m very much looking forward to digging into… I just haven’t started it yet. I’m correcting that this afternoon.

I want to be more consistent with my writing and drawing. With my first foray into college last semester, most of my creative energy was positively ZAPPED. I felt like just reading more than a page or two of something non-school related was exhausting, and mustering the desire to draw anything more than random shapes and lines in my sketchbook felt nearly impossible. Now that I’ve got an iPad, I’m planning to carry it with me as much as possible so I can record the scribbles and story ideas that come to me as they do so; I’ve found it fairly easy to both write and draw on it while on car rides, and it’s small enough to easily fit into a largish purse or smallish backpack, keyboard included.

I want to develop and maintain better organizational habits. It’s a really good thing you all can’t see my bedroom right now… I can excuse some of the messiness by the fact that my family has been “mid-move” for the last several months (basically since we moved into our current house). There are still a few unpacked boxes in my room, and my ever-growing book collection is scattered around in small piles. But once I’m settled into a new room that I hopefully won’t be moving back out of for a while, I want to get everything put away and keep it that way as much as possible.

Speaking of books… I want to read a lot more actual books this year. I’ve mostly been listening to audiobooks lately due to the aforementioned lack of energy and ability to focus, but I want to get back into reading paper books. I’d like to get through the copy of Les Miserables I purchased from BAM recently on the bargain shelf; it’s a cheap enough copy that I won’t feel bad marking in it when I come to passages I want to remember or make notes on. Maybe once I finish it, I’ll treat myself by purchasing a nice hardback to add to my shelf.

And carrying on from that thought, I also want to read more poetry this year. I’ve subscribed to an email newsletter from so that a new short poem shows up in my inbox every morning, and they’ve all been fine so far. But I enjoy reading (and occasionally writing) poetry, so I want to fit more of it in this year. The problem is, my exposure to good poetry thus far has been fairly limited… I know what I like (G. K. Chesterton, Tolkien, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night,” Shel Silverstein, and even Doctor Seuss) but not how to find more or what things I haven’t read yet that I may love if I just gave them a try. So if anyone has any suggestions in this area, whether it’s anything like the poetry I’ve already mentioned or the farthest thing from them, please feel free to drop it in the comments at the end of this blog and I’ll more than likely pick it up. (And if you’re down for chatting about it afterwards, please say so; I’ll almost certainly take you up on that, too.)

A lot of the things I’ve mentioned so far are best done sitting down, except for organizing things, and even that entails staying more or less in one place for an extended amount of time. So to balance it all out, I want to try a little harder to exercise more… maybe daily (yes, I am cringing slightly as I type right now). And I need to drink more water… and probably less coffee (yes, I’m cringing harder now).

And with that, I’ve rambled out all my New Year’s thoughts. I have a bunch of blog posts from my friends to get caught up on now, a church history book to crack open, and a new episode of Doctor Who to avoid spoilers from for a while longer…

As always, please feel free to tell me about your 2020 thus far in the comments!! Have you managed to avoid the plague? Do you have any goals you’re trying to reach by the end of this year? Do you have any poetry recommendations for me? I’d love to hear about any of these things!

Hope to see you all soon,

– Shay

4 thoughts on “Coughing in the New Year

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